Wilderness Watch is urging the National Park Service (NPS) to protect Wilderness at Joshua Tree National Park in southern California as it considers adopting a new Climbing Management Plan to regulate climbing and to protect natural resources in the park.
Congress designated the Joshua Tree Wilderness in 1976 and, after additions in 1994, the Wilderness now includes 595,000 acres of the total 792,000-acre Joshua Tree National Park. The area’s unique geological formations make it an attraction for climbers.
Rock climbing in designated Wilderness is an allowable recreational activity, but many climbers rely on installing bolts or other permanent fixed climbing anchors to assist in climbing challenging rock faces. These permanent fixed climbing anchors deface the rock walls, degrade the area’s wildness, and are prohibited by the 1964 Wilderness Act. The National Park Service should accordingly prohibit all bolts and permanent fixed climbing anchors in the designated Wilderness portions of Joshua Tree National Park. The National Park Service also needs to strengthen its climbing policies nationwide to prohibit bolts and permanent fixed climbing anchors in all designated Wildernesses.
Photo: Pedro Szekely via Flickr